5 Ways Moms Are Like Superheroes

Yes, I know, all parents are heroes (and all kids are unique snowflakes). And yes, I know that DC and Marvel do not count moms as a significant part of their target demographic. Just look at the lack of moms among the ranks of the caped crusaders – notable exceptions being Jessica Jones (spoiler alert for fans of the TV show -- she and Luke Cage eventually get married and have a kid -- read the book!) and the hilariously stupid Invisible Woman (who remains invisible to almost everyone to this day). But I’m a mom who happens to also love comics – and, of course, the recent proliferation of movies and TV shows based on comics – and it recently occurred to me that real-life moms share just about all the major traits that define the genre.

Here are my top 5:

  1. They have an alter ego. From Clark Kent to Peter Parker, every superhero has a secret identity. The alter ego is the one that holds down the day job, tries desperately to fit in by being as boring as possible, and lives in constant fear that someone will discover that behind that mild-mannered façade beats the heart of a warrior. Occasionally, an earth-shattering crisis breaks out while our hero is in the midst of performing his mundane duties, and he has to sneak off to the nearest available phone booth for a quick costume change. These incidents certainly produce some tense moments, but at the end of the day, the hero is usually able to save the world and still get back to work before anyone notices she’s missing.

  2. They are constantly saving the day, are never thanked, and are often vilified for their efforts. Though many have objected to the central position this theme played in cinematic portrayals of the conflicts between Batman and Superman, this type of conflict is present in almost every superhero story. They risk their lives to save the world, and all anyone can do is complain. Adding insult to injury, both Superman and Spiderman (or their alter egos, anyway) have day jobs that require them to actively participate in painting their own good deeds as deeds of villainy.

  3. Many of them got their superpowers from a science experiment or a freak accident. Almost every superhero’s origin story involves something traumatic, whether as part of an intentional, often very painful scientific experiment, the outcome of which is uncertain at best, or in the form of a freak accident. In any case, the process leaves them forever changed – and with powers beyond their wildest imaginings.

  4. They have a fatal flaw or weakness. Every superhero has his or her version of kryptonite – and most are more nuanced than a mysterious green substance that renders the hero powerless. Some are too proud, others are too soft-hearted, and almost all fall victim to their own hubris at one time or another. In their darkest times, it usually falls upon those closest to them to reel them in and help them remember what really matters (see #5).

  5. They get the job done. Peter Parker’s (a/k/a Spiderman’s) Uncle Ben said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Regardless of his or her individual origin story, the superhero’s story follows more or less the same storyline: One day they’re normal human people (or at least trying to act like it) and the next they’re imbued with godlike powers that change their lives forever. Now they have a job to do, and no matter how tired, overworked, or underappreciated they may feel, they defeat the odds and get the job done – every time.

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About Liz Oertle
Denver, CO
Liz Oertle is the CEO and co-founder of Nanno. A recovering attorney and mother of two, she is passionate about helping parents connect with high quality childcare on demand.